Survey reveals stroke care failings

Bicester Advertiser: Stroke survivors face a lack of post-hospital care, says report Stroke survivors face a lack of post-hospital care, says report

Stroke survivors are not making the best possible recovery because of a lack of post-hospital care, according to a new report.

More than a third of survivors (38%) surveyed had not been assessed on their health and care needs to help them with their recovery, found a study by the Stroke Association.

More than half (53%) of people who had suffered a stroke in the last three years had been assessed only once.

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. Around 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK every year and more than one million people in the UK are living with the effects of stroke.

Without assessments, patients are missing out on services that are essential to them making the fullest possible recovery, the charity said. The Government's National Stroke Strategy states people should receive an assessment six weeks after leaving hospital, again at six months and then annually.

Just under four out of 10 (38%) of those who had received an assessment had been given a care plan outlining the services and treatments that would be put in place to help them get better, according to the study of more than 2,200 survivors and carers.

Jon Barrick, chief executive at the Stroke Association, said: "More people than ever are surviving a stroke and that's a welcome improvement. But many stroke survivors tell us that after all the effort to save their lives they then feel abandoned when they return home.

"The NHS and local authorities are failing in their responsibilities to provide appropriate and timely support to stroke survivors and their families; and the growing evidence of cuts for people currently getting services is very worrying."

A Department of Health spokesman said there was still more to do to improve the care given to those surviving strokes. He said: "Care of stroke patients in hospital has improved dramatically over recent years with the majority of patients now treated in specialist stroke units, but we know there is still more to do.

"That is why we have established a programme which focuses on driving up standards for stroke patients, by ensuring, among other things, that patients have a joint care plan prepared for them before they leave hospital. Modernisation of the NHS will help to integrate health and social care services."

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